March 10, 2005
The House of Representatives agreed Wednesday to provide the same protection for children in open pickup trucks as it does for refrigerators: They can’t be bumping around loose.
On a voice vote, lawmakers gave preliminary approval to legislation that would make it a crime for anyone age 17 or younger to be a passenger in the back of an open pickup or truck. If that bill becomes law, it would mark the first time Arizona has imposed such restrictions.
Wednesday’s vote came only after proponents agreed to create exceptions. One such exception would permit youngsters to remain in the bed of a truck while traveling on roads posted with a speed limit of no more than 35 miles per hour — provided the driver obeys the speed limit.
State lawmakers approved a measure to keep kids out of open pickups in 1998, but it was limited to Maricopa and Pima counties to overcome resistance from rural lawmakers.
Then-Gov. Jane Hull found that geographical limit unacceptable and vetoed the legislation.There also are exceptions in the legislation for trucks on private property, organized parades or during emergencies.
A final roll call vote will send the measure to the Senate.